Gary Vang

Gary Vang

Star Tribune readers learned Friday about the travails of Gary Vang, the Patrick Henry High School junior who was set upon by two young men at a bus stop on his way home from school. He’s been suffering from a symptoms of a concussion since the Jan. 28 attack.

Vang got some good news Friday morning.  His mother, Kia Thao, got a call saying the 16-year-old has been admitted to Hopkins High School, starting March 22, when that school’s fourth quarter begins.

That’s good news to Thao and Vang because it means he no longer needs to use his student pass to ride the Metro Transit bus to Henry.  Vang was attacked at a bus stop on his way home from school.

Hopkins will provide school bus service to his new school.  The loss of school bus service in Minneapolis has been opposed by some Hmong parents whose students attend Henry because they fear unprovoked attacks, such as groping of female students on buses or the beating Vang sustained.

Vang is the third of Thao’s children to be accepted to Hopkins under the Choice is Yours program, which allows low-income Minneapolis students to bus to suburban schools.  Each student lost to the suburbs means thousands of dollars less in state aid for Minneapolis.

Thao said she hopes that the switch will mean her son is safer.  She said another son, who will switch to Hopkins in the fall, worries daily about whether he’ll need to ride the bus or be able to get a ride from a family member.
Thao said she was told by a contact in the Hopkins district that normally it doesn’t admit students during the school year.  Hopkins district officials didn’t return Star Tribune calls on why they admitted Vang.

Community organizer Jay Clark said the Minneapolis district rushed the introduction of Metro Transit service for Henry students. “By not listening and by not asking people their opinions first they set themselves up for this,” he said of the transfer.